Films and books

I saw Park Chan-wook‘s Oldboy last year and I was mightily, and expectedly, impressed. Then I saw the slightly older Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, which was extremely (and somehow gratuitously) raw for my taste, while I found a shift of narrative perspective halfway through it quite unsatisfying. The day before yesterday I finally saw the third installment of Park’s ‘Revenge’ trilogy, Lady Vengeance. This one is simply magnificent, by far a more accomplished piece of work than Oldboy, intelligent and moving at once, both featuring an engaging plot and delivering some interesting discussion on issues of morality and justice. Sumptuous photography, the beautiful Lee Young-ae starring, some well-placed special effects and plenty of cunning comedy add to the overall effect. Lady Vengeance was one of the few films in years I totally got immersed into. The film was actually “captivating” in the literal sense, creating around it a forcefield of sorts viewers like me can hardly escape from, hours after it had finished — it even gave me vivid dreams (not nightmares, I assure you) that night.

Moreover, at last I have been reading Joe Sacco’s Palestine for the last two days. First detected in New York, then read about, finally bought in Amsterdam’s Athenaeum. I haven’t finished it yet, although I am more than half-way through it. It reminded me of the Chomsky quote that, as far as I recall, indicates that works of art and fiction can sometimes illuminate inequality, the ruthlessness of power and the human condition in general, more potently than much political and scholarly writing. Read it and see for yourselves.

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One thought on “Films and books

  1. I see «Oldboy» as a modern tragedy with a twist. I think that «Sympathy for Lady Vengeance», although stylistically superb, is a kind of one – dimensional, regarding the motives of the villain, who is portrayed as a monster. The villain in «Οldboy» though is a tragic figure. «Lady Vengeance» has a happy end, while «Οldboy» has one of the most intriguing and endings I’ ve ever seen in a movie.

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